DESPITE theatres being closed and public gatherings banned, one theatre group are pressing ahead with their show plans for this autumn, even if they’re not sure when and where the show will be.

Basingstoke Amateur Operatic Society saw their annual performance cancelled on the day before its opening night last month, but now their youth branch, Limelight, have had to shift their production online to prepare for the show during lockdown.

Their performance of Broadway hit Urinetown, due to take to the Haymarket stage in October, is still in doubt. However, the production team have decided they will persevere, aiming to get the show on in some way and on some stage after the lockdown has been eased.

But with the lockdown meaning the usual rehearsals aren't possible, it means that the production team, lead by director Stephanie Webb, have had to get creative as they audition and teach the routine.

"We prepare a lot of material ahead of auditions and rehearsals anyway but it is the fact that it has had to be delivered in lockdown," she told the Gazette. She says that amongst the challenges was "making it easy to understand and accessible for everyone".

"We have to be working through the costume plot and the stage plot even though we don't know what stage it will be."

With auditions scheduled for next weekend, there was no time to waste for the children, who had to get started on their rehearsals straight away. But only being able to meet over video call has lead to a further problem - the lag between each person.

Therefore, songs, backing tracks and dance lessons with co-director Harriet Brannam have been uploaded to a Google Drive folder, whilst assignments are set on Google Classroom, with the children able to submit their performances for feedback.

However, despite the hard work, Stephanie said that all are enjoying the new way of doing things.

"When we put out on social media that we were looking at doing this virtually it was great," she continued.

"If we are able to do this as far as we can virtually it would be great. It is different from just doing the school work.

"It has given me so much joy to see 25 smiling faces on video. They are really engaged and really on it.

"I know it is not going to be an easy ride. We are going to go as far as we can. There is lots of excitement and they are so happy to be able to get on with the show."

With around 26 people signed up and Stephanie hoping for a cast of 35, there is still time to sign up to be involved in Limelight's performance, due to hit the stage in October, ahead of auditions on Sunday, May 3. For more information, email